Coldspring Campground, Manning Park Review

#rvlife #travel #manningpark


Camping at Manning Park

Manning Park is nestled in the Cascade Mountains in southern British Columbia, Canada. It is located along the Crowsnest Highway (aka Hwy 3) between the Fraser and the Okanagan Valleys. There are several campgrounds in the park to choose from and even a resort with cabins, a general store, and ski hill (check out their ski camping option). We stayed at the Coldspring campground and had a great time exploring the hiking trails, sitting by the creek, and gazing at all the stars in the very dark sky here.

The Dark Sky Highway

Manning Park has some of the darkest skies in southern BC which makes it perfect for stargazing. Even with the naked eye, we could see so many more stars than at our home base, which is only 45 minutes away. The main office at the resort rents out telescopes by the night for a very fair price and even provided us with books to help identify some of the constellations we saw. Seeing the Milky Way like this definitely inspired us to start learning dark sky photography.

Coldspring Campground

Chris, Emilie, Mel, and Jay (left to right) cooling off on a hot day next to the Similkameen river at the Coldspring Campground in Manning Park, BC.

The Coldspring campground is the first campground (when traveling east) when entering Manning Park. It has 66 sites with basic amenities, including outhouses, picnic tables, fire pits, and water. There are a couple of double sites for groups, which we happily used because we were camping with friends Chris and Emilie. We found the site to be fairly level, with only minor adjustments being required. A water boil order was in effect when we were there and there were signs at the water pumps to indicate that. All sites in this campground are for dry camping/ primitive camping. Reservations can be made on the BC Parks website, but they also have some first come, first serve (FCFS) sites, which is how we stayed. The one drawback of this campground is that it is not very far away from the highway, so we did still hear some traffic noise during the day. It was pretty quiet after dark though. We should also note to watch out for the trees when driving around - we hit some low branches on the way out.  

Hiking & Trails

Wildflowers in the alpine meadows at Manning Park, British Columbia. The Cascade mountains can be seen in the background.

Manning Park has over 300 km of trails to discover, and there is something available for every ability, ranging from gentle lakeside walks to multi-day backcountry treks to the highest peaks in the Cascades. There was a trail accessible directly from the Coldspring Campground - the canyon loop trail that followed the Similkameen River (down one side and up the other) to Gibsons Pass Rd where other trails linked up nearby.

We also drove up to the Cascade Lookout and the Alpine meadows trail. The views from here were amazing and the wildflowers in the spring/early summer were so pretty. Some of them looked like they were from a Dr. Seuss book (pictured above).      

After staying at Coldspring Campground, we can see why Manning Park is such a popular park to camp, hike, and stargaze. There is so much to take in that we could have spent weeks exploring all of the trails. It’s fortunate our home base isn’t too far away so we can return to see more.

Until next time, keep on living the life you’ve imagined!

Mel, Jay & Benny

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